THE MP for Cotswolds has called on the NHS strikes to be resolved through negotiation and flexibility. 

Tens of ambulance workers, including paramedics and call handlers, were out on strike on Wednesday, (December 12) over a pay dispute.

And their action followed two walkouts from nurses - the first time in 106 nurses have gone on strike. 

Nurses are calling for a rise of 5 per cent above the RPI rate of inflation. There is a gap between the 19 per cent nurses are asking for, and the four per cent they have been offered. 

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told BBC's Radio 4: "In my view both sides need to offer a little bit of flexibility.

“Nurses at a 19 per cent pay demand is completely unrealistic, government just parroting out the lines of ‘pay review’ is also unrealistic.

“These things have got to be solved by negotiation, they’ve both got to get around the table and see what can be done in the interests of the people in this country.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: STRIKES: Ambulance staff on strikeSTRIKES: Ambulance staff on strike (Image: PA)

“The people who are desperately likely to need this service over Christmas, it is a really worrying time if you get a heart attack or something like that.”

Meanwhile the Health Secretary has urged the public to “use their common sense” while the strikes took place. 

Steve Barclay, who has said he will not move on the issue of pay, said the emergency ambulance system “will be under very severe pressure today (Wednesday)”.

He told Sky News: “We’re saying to the public to exercise their common sense in terms of what activities they do, being mindful of those pressures that are on the system.”

Mr Barclay also claimed the Unite, Unison and GMB unions had “refused” to work with the government at the national level to set out plans for dealing with the strikes.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said unions would only agree local arrangements for life-threatening and emergency calls, which had led to “further uncertainty”.

Rachel Harrison, the GMB union national secretary, accused Mr Barclay of “insulting” ambulance workers with his comments.

Asked if there would be harm to patients as a result of the walkout, she told the BBC: “The sad reality is that patients are being harmed every single day, and that’s when we’re not on strike.

“The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives themselves report that the increasing number of handover delays and waiting times is leading to harm to patients and deaths.

“So, that’s happening when we’re not on strike. It’s issues like that which have forced our members into this position.”